Local horse manure piled up in an open dumpster

My good friend Paul is in town, and he has a truck. We made our usual pilgrimage to the local horse stables located in North Atwater Village. We took our forks and shovels and loaded up a truckfull of stable waste. It’s free, and there’s plenty… and it’s great for the garden.

The trick is that, like cheese or wine (well… maybe not), you have to wait. The stuff we pick up locally is about 4/5ths wood-shavings and about 1/5th poop. The woody stuff has been urinated on… so it’s all very rich in nitrogen. It’s too strong to be spread directly in the garden – supposedly it can hurt plants – though I am not entirely sure just how. So, it has to cook first.

We unloaded it in a big pile, next to my small black-plastic composter. I water the pile now and then, and I add it liberally into the composter, mixing it with food and green waste. And, voilà!!, it cooks. It heats up the compost like nothing else, the heat coming from microrganisms metabolizing. It gets nice and hot – and it really steams! The heat, when sustained, will sterilize weed seeds and even kill devil grass.

Then, in about 3-5 weeks, mixing weekly, it breaks down into dark rich organic soil. Very quick in the compost time-frame – usually most stuff breaks down for me in more like 2-4 months, depending on how much attention I give it.

And if we don’t use this great natural organic manure resource, it gets shipped off to a landfill. If any locals would like directions to the stables in North Atwater, comment below. You’ll need a truck and some elbow grease to shovel it… but it’s worth it.